Conflicts & War

Pakistan Taliban extend ceasefire amid peace talks with government

Islamabad, May 18 (EFE).- The outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Wednesday unilaterally announced an extension to a ceasefire with the government as talks between the two continued in neighboring Afghanistan.

TTP spokesperson Mohammad Khurasani said the ceasefire would remain in place until May 30.

“Under the mediation of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Afghan Taliban), talks are underway between the high-level committees of the TTP and the government of Pakistan,” Khurasani said in a statement.

The spokesperson said the ceasefire was extended after deliberations, including with elders in the tribal South Waziristan.

“Therefore, keeping in view the demand, both sides have announced a ceasefire until May 30,” the spokesman said.

The Afghan Taliban confirmed they brokered the talks between the TTP and the Pakistan government.

“Talks were held in Kabul between the government of Pakistan and the Taliban Movement of Pakistan with the mediation of the Islamic Emirate,” Afghan Taliban government spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter.

Mujahid said in addition to making “significant progress” on related issues during the talks, a temporary ceasefire was also agreed upon.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan strives for the goodwill of the negotiating process and wishes both sides tolerance and flexibility,” Mujahid added.

Pakistan’s military did not respond to EFE request for a comment on the talks.

A diplomatic source at the Pakistan embassy in Kabul told EFE on condition of anonymity that Corps Commander Peshawar Lt Gen Faiz Hameed was in Kabul to hold talks with the TTP.

The source did not elaborate on the composition of committees leading the talks from both sides.

The previous government also held negotiations with the TTP in which both agreed to a month-long ceasefire which ended in December last year.

However, the militant group had unilaterally refused to extend the ceasefire, accusing the government led by Imran Khan of failing to respect the initial understanding reached between the two sides.

They agreed on another ceasefire earlier this month during Eid, a Muslim festival celebrated at the end of holy month Ramadan. The truce was then extended until May 16.

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella of various tribal armed groups, has fought for years to overthrow the Islamabad government and impose their brand of Sharia law in the country.

Since its formation in 2007, the group has carried out a brutal campaign of insurgent attacks across the country, killing thousands of people including an attempt to murder Malala Yousafzai in 2012 who later became the world’s youngest Nobel Prize laureate. EFE


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